It's a more dangerous world - thanks to Bush


  • Letters
  • Sunday, 23 Mar 2003

By WONG CHUN WAI

THE reality of war is hitting home fast – a US helicopter crashed, killing 14 British and two American soldiers in the early stages of the invasion of Iraq. This does not include the number of civilians killed in Baghdad, which is probably higher. 

The intensity of the attacks has increased as the US war machine goes into high gear. There will be more to come, for sure, and there is no doubt that the US will win the war. 

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein will probably be arrested or killed. There is no way the Iraqi soldiers can face the might of the US-led forces. 

The ordinary American may hope that the invasion would be swift and short but the rest of the world is not convinced. The US may want to portray their attack against Iraq as liberation but the price that the American people have to pay would probably come later. 

The US attack has angered many people and would only serve to boost the likes of Osama bin Laden. Moderate Islamic governments will now feel the pressure of dealing with the US in a tougher manner. 

For many Arab countries, their leaders can feel the wrath of the people as they are caught in a dilemma of providing support to the US in exchange for protection and dealing with the sympathies of the Arab people for the injustices suffered by the Palestinians. 

There is tremendous anger, not just among Muslims, but many people across the world as they watch the mighty US unleash its weapons against an Iraq that is too weak to retaliate. 

The danger for the US is that the anti-war protests may turn into a pro-Saddam stance, as can be seen in several Muslim countries already. It will certainly not help the US, no matter the security measures taken to fight terrorism. 

The record now stands that George W. Bush has waged his second war in just two years into the presidency. He also has the distinction of being the first US president to start a major war in the 21st century. 

His first war order was in October 2001 when he decided to retaliate against the Taliban, whom he accused of sheltering Osama's band of Al-Qaeda terrorists. 

His argument that the decision to remove the Taliban regime in order to salvage American honour after the Sept 11 attacks brought much sympathy. In fact, there was jubilation in many Muslim countries when the Taliban fled. 

Unfortunately, the same parallel can no longer be expected as the opponents of the war in Iraq, even among Americans, stepped up their campaign against the invasion that many believe is an excuse to gain control of the oilfields. 

The US has also lost plenty of goodwill. No one will now want to listen to the US when its leaders talk about the rule of law when it is clearly bent on using might to achieve its aim. 

It has totally wrecked the United Nations by ignoring international views. If that is not enough, Bush has opened up fresh wounds between the US and Europe, with relations with France now at rock bottom. 

The Russians and Chinese are equally aghast at the unilateral action of the US; they had wanted the UN weapons inspectors to complete the full course of their work. 

Bush may want us to believe that the attack against Iraq is necessary for world peace, but all he has done is to make the world a more dangerous place to live in. 

  • Wong Chun Wai can be reached at onthebeat@thestar.com.my  

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